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The ROI of Volunteering

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by Bill Vasquez MBA 00 | GSMAA Board Member

Those who know me are aware that I am not the gregarious, warm-n-fuzzy type. However, a number of years ago the Graduate School of Management asked for volunteers to sit on a panel to discuss the ROI of an MBA, and I volunteered. The event was part of a prospective student recruiting effort. I was going out on a limb by volunteering, but the topic intrigued me. I went to the event not sure if I would be able to offer much, but found the experience both energizing and inspiring. I was especially impressed by my fellow panelists and their accomplishments since leaving the GSM. 

Although the panel discussion was interesting, what I found most enjoyable was discussing the School with perspective students afterwards. They had many of the same questions I had when I was considering an MBA. It was nice to be able to give them the inside scoop as a former student. And it was motivating to hear the stories and inquiries from this diverse group of candidates as they were setting off on the journey we have all embarked upon.

Since this initial engagement, I have participated in a number of events. One of the most notable was serving as a panelist and providing feedback at a Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship event. The ideas from the perspective entrepreneurs were very engaging. There were a number of cutting-edge concepts; hearing the elevator pitches and being able to provide feedback was very rewarding. I left with a renewed sense of focus to grow and develop my own business. 

You may be thinking, “I do not have time for this kind of stuff.” I can fully appreciate that perspective: I, too, am very busy with work, family and friends. However, it is not as time consuming as you might think. Some engagements ask an afternoon; others require a couple of hours in an evening. I found the experience rewarding enough to increase my gift of time despite how little free time I have. 

So how do you get engaged? The School has made it quite easy with a volunteer web form. Use it to let the GSM know which types of events you are interested in volunteering to assist. Your name is added to a pool and, based on the need and location, you may be called and asked to help.

What is the ROI on volunteering? Of course the School benefits, and current and perspective students benefit from your knowledge and experience. But to me that pales in comparison to the personal ROI you will receive. Engaging with energetic students who are beginning to embark upon or in the middle of the journey we all took is energizing. It allows you a moment of reflection and reminds you of some of the skills, training and experiences gained in our own journey. What is nice is that the GSM has become much more effective in using our gift of time to provide a rewarding experience.

Please join me in signing up on the volunteer web form. We’ll surely help the GSM become an even better school!

Regards,
Bill Vasquez MBA 00
Board of Directors, UC Davis Graduate School of Management Alumni Association

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